We are living through unprecedented times and what we have seen in the last few weeks is a global emergency on an unimagined scale. Throughout this time the social care sector has responded magnificently and members of staff have given so much commitment to the people they support and have truly shown themselves to be heroes.
In a crisis people do extraordinary things in the heat of the moment, and it is only later, when they have time to reflect, that the true impact of what has happened really comes home to them. Throughout these difficult times we must not only have a consideration for the physical needs of all our colleagues but we should also acknowledge the enormous emotional strain that many people will be under.
Social care, by its very nature, is a very demanding occupation both physically and emotionally and we are used to dealing with some very tough issues. What is different in this current situation, is this speed that the pandemic has taken hold and the impact it is having on the people we support and our own family and friends. People are not only concerned and emotionally drained, but they are also frightened because we are in a situation that our sophisticated society is not able to control. Faced with this reality, we must understand that the best way to cope is to support one another, to identify when we need help and to reach out to our colleagues and friends, to both offer and accept support.
Because social care is a very tough place to work, we often feel that showing any signs of needing support is a weakness and for this reason staff can sometimes try to cope on their own rather than seeking help. It is at times like these that we should all look out for each other and try to identify when our colleagues need help. There is also a big role for employees who should do what they can to enable their staff to get the help they need.
One of the positive things about any crisis, is that we can see so clearly the value of our family, friends and our support networks. I hope that as things get more back to normal, we will carry with us the appreciation of one another, which when you are in tough and demanding jobs is often easy to overlook.
I hope when things return to normal, we will be able to acknowledge the contribution and commitment of our colleagues and also make sure that their resilience health and well-being remain firmly at the top of our agenda. You are all heroes; you have earned the respect of a nation and you richly deserve it.